How to Write A Cover Letter – Solution
Cover letters provide us with the opportunity to include qualifications that we cannot possibly mention in our resumes. Apart from that, they provide an opportunity for one to personalize the job application knowing clearly that they are meant for as real people as they are. If you just write a cover letter for the sake of it thinking that no one is going to go through it then you are in for a rude shock. A cover letter has a lot of potential in ensuring that you get that dream job if you are keen on doing it the right way. This guide has been designed to give nothing but the best. We have a quick review for what a cover letter is, the guideline of writing a good cover letter and lastly samples of a cover letter that you can use to prepare yours.
What is a Cover Letter?
It is important to understand what the cover letter is and its purpose before sitting down and start writing it. Basically, a cover letter is a document usually sent with the resume to provide more information about the applicant in terms of skills and experience.
The cover letter provides all the relevant information that makes you the best suited for the job. It should however not be a repetition of what has already been mentioned on the resume; rather it should have specific information that you want the employer to note. When writing a cover letter, you should picture it as a sales pitch where you want to market your eligibility for the job, this means that you must ensure that your cover letter creates the best impression on the person going through it.
Every resume you send for job application should be accompanied by a cover letter. This is because it is what the employers use to gauge the applicants and determine the ones they will call for the interview. Most employers who require a cover letter will always list it in the job posting but it is still very important to include your cover letter when applying for the job even if the employer doesn’t ask for it. This will show that you have gone an extra mile in your job application.
There are various types of cover letters for resume. But we have three main ones. It is therefore important to clearly select the type that best matches your needs.
The following are the three general types of cover letters:
- Application Letter- this is a letter responding to a known job opening
- Prospecting Letter- this is a letter inquiring about possible job positions
- Networking Letter- this is a letter requesting for information related to your job search.
When you want to apply for a job that has already been posted by the hiring employer, you need to use the application letter style.
What to have in your cover letter
It is important to note that a cover letter should complement your resume; therefore, it should not be a duplicate. The purpose of the cover letter is to provide more insights on your credentials as it tries to explain to the employer why you are the best suited for that job.
Usually, the cover letter is the first contact with that potential employer and it, therefore, needs to provide the best first impression. Even the slightest error such as a typo can make the potential employer immediately kick you out of his list.
That notwithstanding, if you have the best cover letter that has been perfectly written with no errors but does not refer to the company or makes any specific mention of the job you want then you are still likely going to be kicked off.
A good cover letter should provide an explanation of the reasons why you are interested in a specific company and provides your most relevant skills and experiences. Through reading the job description well, you can determine the relevance of the skills and experience needed. You can look at the skills they need and match them to yours.
Then from that, you can assess yourself on how you have been applying those skills and how they are going to be relevant to the company and effective in the position you are applying for.
What you should NOT include in your Cover Letter
There are a number of things you need to leave off from your cover letter. You should note that a cover letter is specifically made to talk about how qualified you are for the job and should not be about your personality. This means that you don’t have to share any personal information in the cover letter. If you also notice that your qualifications don’t fully match with what the employer needs, don’t say it, and rather focus on the ones that are in a match. Another thing to avoid is talking about salary unless the company listed it in their job posting. In addition, in case you have any questions related to the job such as the job schedule, the salary or the benefits, you should not use your cover letter to raise them.
It is also important to note that the cover letter should not be too long. The letter should be concise and focused on the important information. It should carry just enough information that will be able to make the employer reach you for the interview.
If you write a lot, it is probably going to be ignored.
Your cover letter should be customized. You should always ensure that your cover later is tailor-made to suit the position you are applying to.
The following should be considered when you are writing a cover letter:
- The job you are applying for, mention the job title in the opening paragraph
- How you got to know about the job, be sure to add a referral if you have one
- Be specific on why you are best suited for the job
- Add what you have to offer to the company and why you are interested in that specific company
Understanding and using Cover Letter format
This is what you need to have in your cover letter.
- Cover Letter Header
Your cover letter should always begin with both your employers and your contact information. This includes the name, address, phone number and email then the date. In the case of an email, you contact information should come at the end of the letter after your signature.
- Proper Salutation
Your cover letter should have a proper salutation. You can use the title of contact with his/her last name. In case you are not quite sure about the gender of your contact, it is better if you write down their full name. In case you totally don’t know the name of the contact or the employer, then you can simply use the common “Dear Hiring Manager” which sounds better than then formal or the generic, “To Whom It May Concern.”
Once you are done with the header and the greetings, you now move to the body of the cover letter. To get it right, it is advisable to use the three-paragraph cover letter format. Your first paragraph should all be about capturing the attention of the hiring manager, the second paragraph should be about your credentials and lastly, the third one should be about proving that you are the best suited for the job.
- Paragraph one: Introduction
In your first paragraph, provide a brief introduction to the job you are applying for and how you heard about it especially if you received the information from someone with close links with the company or employer. You should also mention in brief how your skills and experience relate to the position you are applying for. This is basically to prepare the person reviewing the letter on what he/she should expect. Basically, the purpose of your first paragraph is to capture the attention of the hiring manager.
- Paragraph two: Body of your cover letter
This paragraph is about explaining your interests for the particular job and why you are the best- suited candidate for the same. You, therefore, need to include your specific qualifications as per the ones listed in the job posting. You should not just duplicate what you have already included in your resume; rather you need to provide examples that clearly show you are qualified for the job.
You should provide examples that are tangible so that the hiring manager will clearly see your skill and capability. When writing this paragraph, keep in mind that actions speak louder than words.
- Paragraph three: Conclusion
Your last paragraph should be about clearly telling the hiring manager why you are the best candidate for the job. You can also add on why you want to work at the company you are applying to. Add that you are also ready for an interview in case the employer needs more information or want to discuss the employment opportunity. Lastly, don’t forget to thank the employer for the consideration.
Note that your cover page should be no more than one page.
When you are done with the body of the cover letter, you are left with ending it with a formal close at the end.
You can use:
- Thank you,
- Best regards,
- Kind regards,
- With best regards.
Format Your Cover Letter
- Choose a visible font style: your font should be visible and one that looks professional. You can also use the font style used on the company’s website. Note that different font sizes have a different impact on the font size.
- Font size: your font should not get below 12 points unless when it is very necessary. This is because anything less than 12 strains the eye.
- Your cover letter should maintain a uniform alignment: This is very important as your letter will look organized. We suggest that you keep all your paragraphs left-aligned.
- Use 1” – 1.5” margins: ensures that your content doesn’t look crammed together.
Go through your cover letter
This is very vital especially when you are doing multiple cover letters. You need to proofread your cover letter and make the necessary changes. Ensure that you have correctly spelled the name of the company you are applying to.
Make sure to remove all the small errors such as missing words, typos or sentences that don’t make sense.
Sample Cover Letter
West First St,
Phone: 0555 555 555
Email: [email protected]
June 7, 2018
123 Main St.
Auburn, ME 04211
Dear Mr. Brown
I’m submitting this application for the editorial position you posted on The Auburn Times on May 30, 2018.
I have been working as a writer and editor for the last one and half year in a publishing company that many deals with educational content. This job entailed hours of performing activities that pertain to the editorial process including proofreading copy editing, content entry, and quality assurance. Currently, I am the head of a team of 50 freelance writers who work on various subjects and my work is to ensure that each and every submission meets the quality of standards we have prescribed. In addition to these, I have competency in English grammar and its uses and I can easily adapt to any guide style.
One fascinating thing about my current job is that it provides the opportunity for one to learn and be creative; this is exactly what this position entails. I feel that I can be a very valuable asset in your team and I know that I can add a lot to what you already have because of the skills and experience that I have earned in the past one and half years. I would like to work at your company because it is one of the most reputable companies and it has the best work ethics. It also gives one an opportunity to grow professionally.
I look forward to hearing from you. In case you need more information be free to contact me.
Thank you for your consideration.
Using Cover Letter Examples
It is good to go through various cover letter examples as it improves your writing skills. The examples will guide you on the right format to use and at which instance it will be applicable. You should be able to note the errors that other writers have made and correct it when it comes to your own. Take your time to google some samples and they will be really helpful.